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NEW INFORMATION: Assembly passes budget: lawmakers react

By: AP Email
By: AP Email
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(WEAU) – Following the vote in the State Assembly Wednesday where it was passed on party lines 55-42, Democrats said their new priority is telling the public about the budget's shortcomings.

Representative Dana Wachs from Eau Claire and Representative Stephen Smith from Shell Lake stopped in Eau Claire Wednesday to talk about the vote on the budget.

Wachs told us "the real jury here is the people of the state of Wisconsin. We need to talk to those people and we need to ask them to call Republican senators to try and turn this budget around. This budget is terrible for the middle class."

Smith said "you know this is really the start of the next campaign and we are asking the people of Wisconsin to consider, do want our state to be better off...we've got to change leadership."

Below are more statements from local lawmakers.

Rep. Chris Danou statement on the budget

MADISON - Rep. Chris Danou (D-Trempealeau) issued the following statement regarding the
passage of Governor Walker’s Biennium Budget, Assembly Bill 40:

“For a state whose motto is ‘Forward,’ we sure don’t seem to be moving in that direction with
the Governor’s budget. I can’t believe how quickly we can go backward and do damage to our
great state with one piece of legislation.

“I was optimistic when Governor Walker introduced his budget back in February that we would
start to see signs of bipartisanship and honestly work to improve the current condition of our
state. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it is 2013 and I live in Wisconsin because the
priorities and the legislative agenda of the Republicans looks like something we might have seen
over 40 years ago in the South.

“It baffles and frustrates me that the majority party does not have the same priorities as the
majority of Wisconsin residents. There’s a complete disregard for public education, disdain for
quality health care, contempt for our unique natural resources, indifference to the middle-class
and zero vision for the future. The people of Wisconsin deserve better than this.

“Clearly, we have work to do to improve the economic condition here in Wisconsin. Most other
states, including all of our Midwestern neighbors seem to have figured out how to get back on
track and move in the right direction. Unfortunately for the people of Wisconsin, we are falling
even farther behind with this budget because it does nothing to create jobs or improve our quality
of life.”

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Assembly Democrats say their decision not to debate the state budget was part of a strategy, not surrender.

Democrats prepared 211 amendments going into Wednesday's floor session but didn't introduce any of them. Minority Leader Peter Barca was the only Democrat who spoke against the spending plan before majority Republicans adopted it.

The Democrats told reporters after the vote Majority Leader Robin Vos, a Burlington Republican, told them the GOP wouldn't accept any amendments. Barca said the budget was so bad even if Republicans had adopted a couple amendments no Democrat would have voted for the entire package anyway.

The Democrats say they decided to focus on telling the public about the budget's shortcomings in hopes people will vote Republican legislators out of office next year.
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The state Assembly has passed the state budget on a 55-42 vote.

The vote came abruptly on Wednesday after Democrats surprisingly decided against offering any amendments. Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca says Republicans were clear no changes would be made, so Democrats instead were going to take their opposition directly to the public.

The $70 billion budget would cut income taxes by $650 million, expand private school vouchers statewide and reject a federally funded expansion of Medicaid.

Barca says the budget will hurt the middle class and does not reflect the values of most Wisconsin residents.

Republicans defended it as good for the economy and the state.

The budget now heads to the Senate for debate Thursday.

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Rep. Chris Danou statement on the budget

MADISON - Rep. Chris Danou (D-Trempealeau) issued the following statement regarding the passage of Governor Walker’s Biennium Budget, Assembly Bill 40:

“For a state whose motto is ‘Forward,’ we sure don’t seem to be moving in that direction with the Governor’s budget. I can’t believe how quickly we can go backward and do damage to our great state with one piece of legislation.

“I was optimistic when Governor Walker introduced his budget back in February that we would start to see signs of bipartisanship and honestly work to improve the current condition of our state. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it is 2013 and I live in Wisconsin because the priorities and the legislative agenda of the Republicans looks like something we might have seen over 40 years ago in the South.

“It baffles and frustrates me that the majority party does not have the same priorities as the majority of Wisconsin residents. There’s a complete disregard for public education, disdain for quality health care, contempt for our unique natural resources, indifference to the middle-class and zero vision for the future. The people of Wisconsin deserve better than this.

“Clearly, we have work to do to improve the economic condition here in Wisconsin. Most other states, including all of our Midwestern neighbors seem to have figured out how to get back on track and move in the right direction. Unfortunately for the people of Wisconsin, we are falling even farther behind with this budget because it does nothing to create jobs or improve our quality
of life.”

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STATEMENT FROM REP. KATHY BERNIER (R-Lake Hallie):

“The budget is a huge undertaking. I’m confident that the result is a product encompassing a wide range of perspectives and includes input from every corner of our state.”

“I’m proud of what we accomplished. The business of governing is not always easy and it’s not always pretty. In the end, what we were able to achieve stands as a testament to hard work and compromise.”

“The contact I had with constituents on budget issues was invaluable in shaping my opinion and directing my efforts on behalf of folks from the 68th Assembly District."

“We were able to cut income taxes by $666 million by making the tax code fairer and flatter. There’s still work to do to reduce the size and scope of state government but this was a great first step.”

“I feel it is important to allow all families, particularly low and moderate income families the flexibility to choose the best education course for their children.”

“We shored up entitlement programs so they may continue to be sustainable for the neediest among us while improving reliability and accountability standards.”

“Although difficult, the budget process requires collaboration. There are many issues, and it requires meticulous attention to detail. This budget is the product of good people wanting the best for Wisconsin citizens. On Wisconsin!”

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STATEMENT FROM REP. STEPHEN SMITH (D-Shell Lake):

“This budget does nothing to help the struggling families of Northwestern Wisconsin. The people of the 75th District elected me to hold the line on property taxes and make sure their children have adequate school funding; this budget just doesn’t do that. It raises taxes, it will create a budget hole in two years, and it sends taxpayer dollars to private and unaccountable schools."

“This budget is bad for ma and pa Wisconsin. It panders to special interests and does nothing help our folks in small communities to keep their businesses open during tough economic times. We are sent to Madison to represent the people of this great state, and instead the majority party believed in representing special interests groups and lobbyists. The legislature should be focused on job creation and working together, and it is apparent that they have other priorities."


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